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Before...B..QS.T.QN.....POLIGE nEPARTlffilW 



Direct and 
Re-Direct Ex. 

Cross and 
Re-Cross Ex. 


Form 1857-500-9-38 







Dr. Willi am J. O'Connor 155 

William C. Payne 158 

Bernardo Fazioli 162 

Charles G. V,Tiitmire 163 

Sophie Urban 164 

Donat Ducharme 164 

Priscilla White 165 

Anna Dee 165 

Charles Mikalonas 166 

Edith Leadbetter 167 

Mrs. Dorothy Quinlan 168 

Margaret Gill 168 

Ann Lettini 169 

V, Alice Maulsby 170 

Dorothy Ducharme * 171 

Eleanor O'Neil 171 

Roland Sousa 173 

Adolph Ce echini 176 

Frederick W. Harrington 180 

Nick Pagonis 185 

John H. Senft 187 

Donald E. Peterson 189 

Robert T. Jones 190 

Merlin R. Jensen 191 

Beatrice Singer 192 

Edward DiMaggio 193 

Jeremiah B. Crowley 194 

Reuben 0. Bodenhorn 197 

Raymond Baer 203 

Herbert Shein 211 

Jacob B, Goldfine 217 

Joseph Dobesch 220 

(George M, Godfrey, 

Police Headquarters, 
Boston, Mass., 
November 29, 1942* 


statement of DR> VILLIM J> O'COmOR . 
Q (By Sergeant Joseph B, Fallon) V^hat is your full name? 
A Dr. William J. 0* Connor. 
Q Vihere do you live? 
A 431 Rivet Street, New Bedford. 

Q Doctor, were you at the Cocoanut Grove last night, the 28th? 
Jk Ye,?. 

Q V»hat time did you go there. Doctor? 
A After the game I called up there about 6:30. 
^ Did you go there directly? 
A No. I talked v;ith Frank the head waiter at the Goacoanut and 

1 asked him what time the show went on and he said, "Quarter of 

eight," and I got in there about 7:30. 
Q V»ho was with you? A. Miss Isabelle O^Teil — - 
Q How old is she? A. Around 35. 

Q She lives where? A. Fall River, I think Highland Avenue; 

formerly Locust Street. 
Q V/hat does she do for a living? A. She is head of the 

Comm.ercial Department of the B»M.C. Durfee High School, Fall 

Q Who else was with you? 

A Thome s H, O'Neil a brother, and his wife. 
^ vVhat was his wife's name? 
JA Catherine,- maiden name Doyle. Her father /mdy Doyle senator 

up here for years. 
^ •inhere did you go,- what part of the Grove did you go into? 
A We had a ringside seat* 

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^ In the main dining room? 

A Yes, opposite the orchestra* 

Q That was about 7:30? it^Yes. 

Q What time did you first notice any trouble? 

A »/e were ready to go out and paid our check. 

Q What time v;as this? A. ..quarter of ten or ten o'clock. Miss 

O'Weil went to the Ladies Room. 
Q Was the place crowded? ^* Yeso 

Q You savi/ no excitement, fire or smoke at that time? 
A Ho. 

Q And she went to the Ladies Room? 
A Yes. We were going to meet when we got our hats and coats. 

The three of us went out and Just gets out in the main lobby 

that leads towards the check room there and as we came out a 

rolling m.ass of flames rolling towards us. 
Q You saw nothing prior to that? A. Nothing at all. 
Q i^othing between you and the main entrance? 
A Nothing at all between us. 
Q This fire was coming from where? 

A From inside the Grove » maybe tlie room downstairs or gent's room 
Q V/here do you think the fire was coming from, either the room 

dovmstairs or the gent's room? 
A Either the stairway leading from the room dovmstairs or the 

gent's room. 

What did you do t?ien? ^. I don't know, but the 

flame drove me back as far as the telephone booth. I don't know 

how I got out but I rolled out of there somewhere. 

/it the main entrance? A. Yes. 


Q Was there a swinging revolving door there? j«^.Yes» 
-i Did you touch any flame at all? 




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. 157 

A My hands burnt » 

k^ ^»as l^lr. O'Neil with you? Ao Yes» 

Q You don't know how you got split at the time you saw the fire? 

A i\lo* They were probably driven back by the fire» 

Q V/ss there a great deal of commotion at the time you saw this 

wall of flame as you speak of? 

A Must have b^en a lot of people in the lobby » 

Q Did you see anybody come up from downstairs? 

i*. No, nothing but flames. 

Q Did you hear anything in the way of an explosion? 

A Ilo . 

Q Was the orchestra playing at that time? 

A I Just got through dancing. 

^ Do you know the orchestra leader? 

A No. It wasn't Mickey* 

Q^ You were on your way to get your clothing at the check room? 

A Yeso 

Q And was that between you and the check room, the flame? 

A Yes. 

Q What seemed to be burning in there, drapes or hangings? 

«i There are no drapes. 







(George lU Godfrey, 

Police Headquarters, 
Boston, Mass*, 
November 29, 194 ?o 


StateiTient of mUZm G. PAYNE > 

Q (By Jergeant Joseph B* Fallon) What is your full name? 

it vVilliam C. Payne* 

Q vVhere do you live? it» 89 Park Drive, Boston, 

Q You are a professional entertainer at the Cocoanut Grove? 

A Yeso 

Q V.'hat time did you go to v;ork last night? 

A Seven o'clock* 

Q Were you on the premises on or about ten o'clock? 

A Yes. 

Q Did you notice something unusual happen at that time? 

A The thing I noticed. Just before the floor show v/as ready to 

go on — 

Can you. estimate the time? 

Alpert vas coming to get me to sing the National anthem to open 

the show* The show goes on at 10:20* 
Having that in mind, v/hat time v.'ould you say this thing 
happened? A* Between 10:16 and 10:20. 

In view of your experience, can you estimate the number of 
persons you think were present at the time? 
About four hundred in the main dining room* 

Have you anj'- idea how many people were in the Melody Oounge? 
No, I wasn't below at all. 
what first attracted your attention? 

The first thing that attracted my attention and big scramble at 
the main bar:'* 
V/here v/ere you standing? A* Middle of the room talking 


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With four or five people • 
Q Your attention was attracted to these people milling arotjind the 
bar? A » Yes* 

(Mr» Payne draws 'liagraiii of Grove) 
Q As you face that direction your back to the left side (refeering 
to diagram)? A. To Shawmut Street. My back to the back 
wall,- facing the direction of the front of the house. 
Q Facing the entrance? j^^ Yes* 

Q mat did you see? A. People scrambling and 

Jumping around the bar and running. I looked to see v/hat was 
the trouble. I thought it was a fight. I looked quick and saw 
this bright light at the main entrance. 
Q How do you describe this bright light? 
A Bright light, flame. 

Q Flash flame? jk. Brightness,- lighted up, and then the 

Q vnhat is at that location where you saw this flame? 
ii Two * phone booths right there. 

Q You are describing the » phone booths on the left as you go out? 
iat Yes. 

q Anything else there? A. Switchboard. 

Q And was it from that direction you saw this flame? 
A Yeso 

Q Bad you seen anything wrong immediately prior to that? 

A No, everything normal. 

Q What did you do then? A. I started to run to see 

what it was and saw this thing building up and people running 
and pushing and I hollered to them to tal-.e it easy, that the 
big entrance on Shawmut Street would be open for them to go out. 




Flaines were at the main entrance: it came there fast* 

Q Enveloping the entire front entrance? 

A Yes. 

Q Could you have time to run out the main entrance from the time 
you first saw it? 

A Fo, I don't think I could » 

Q What did you do next? 

A A crowd gathered towards Shawmut Street entrance, pushir^g me in 
a corner. Smoke started to come very quick and thick in the 
main dining room.. I said to some people, "Follow me downstairs 
to the kitchen," a concrete cellar floor* VVe were vmiting down 
there until the firemen come in. 

Q Vi/hich way did you go out? 

A Out the kitchen door downstairs o 

Q Can you tell me anybody that was mth you? 

A No, I couldn't. 

Q What did you say to the people? 

A I said to the people, "Take it easy, we'll go out the back door. 
The service door from the dining room that door was locked. 
People yelled, "You can't get out of here." I said to the peopl 
that followed me downstairs, "V/e'll wait dovm here." I laid 
down on the floor v;ith the people and got out onto Shavinut 

Q Did you go around to the front of the buildirg then? 

A Ifo. 

Q Did anybody else come out vdth you, out the Sha^^mut Street side? 

A Few people. 

Q The ones that were in the basement? Ao Yeso 

Q vVhen you first saw this flash of flame as you describe and then 

the smoke, were the slectric lights on at that time? 





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A Side lights, two or three circuits,- side lights were on» 
Q Did all of the lights remain on in the dining room and lobby 

vv'hen you left there? 
A Gee, I couldn't tell you. 

Q V/ere the lights on vhen you ?;ent downstairs? 
A Two lights on dovvnstairs. 

Q You have drawn this diagram J showing diagram)? 
**. Yes» 
Q i^nd you described the telephone booths and switchboard to the 

right as you go in? 
A ^es, I remember it from the way I was standing in the room* 


«^ W^ PW • *«■ ■» 4M 



(George M. Godfrey. City Hospital, 1 

^teno.grapher) Boston, Mass., 1 

November 29.194Po 
(Ward K; 
Statement of 3ERITARDQ FAZIQLI > (Since died) 

Q (By SergeJunt Banks) iVhat is your name? 

A Bernardo Fazioli. 

Q vVhere do you live? 

A 146 Fancock Street, Everett. 

Q Are you the orchestra leader at the Cocoanut Grove? 

A I lead fiiut Mickey Alpert*s orchestra* 

Q You were at the Cocoanut Grove at the time the fire broke out? 
A Yeso 

Q Were you leading the orchestra at the time? 

A No. 

Q Could you describe to us Just what happened at the time? 
A I Just walked out with the boys to start to do the show and 

somebody said, '•'Look, there is fire," I looked out in the 

lobby and saw a huge flame come and ever^^body started to scream 

and r'on. I started to suffocate. 
Q V/here did the flames appear to be coming from? 
A In the lobby. They appeared to be coming from the men»s room or 

further end of lobby. 

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(George M. Godfrey. City Hospital, ^^^ 

Stenographer) Boston, Mass*, 

November 29, 1942* 
(Ward H) 

Statement of GliARLES G. '.VHITMIHE . 

Q (By Sergeant Banks) What is your name? 

ik Captain Charles G* ViThitmire* 

Q What outfit are you attached to? 

A Battery "S", Naval Drydocks, South Boston. I have an aircraft 

battery there* 
Q Can you describe to us just how you first saw the flames? 
A Yes, sir, very little flame on top of the building. Somebody 

hollered fire and everybody run for the door* 
Q I'/here were you sitting, Captain? 
ir* Inside by the steps* 
Q From the door? 
A Downstairs. As you go down the steps about two tables in, in 

the Melody Lounge. 
Q The flame came from v/here? 
A Over in the corner,- as you come down the steps the left hand 

Q You saw a big flame come towards you? 
A Yes, sir. 

Q V^hat is in that corner? 

A Tables, and I suppose a men*s room is there* 


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(George M. Goc±frey. City Hospital, 

Stenographer) Boston, Mass», 

November 29,1942 • 

Statement of SOPHIE URBAN » (Ward "H") 

q (By Sergeant Banks) Vi/hat is your name? 
A Sophie Urban. 
Q v^nere do you live? 
A 60 Holmes Avenue, Dorchester » 

Q Did you see where the flames were coming from? 
A Appeared to be coming from the left hand corner in the Melody 

Lounge room» 
Q You w ere in the Melody Lounge? 
A Yes ft 

City HospitaL, 
Boston, Maes ft, 

i\"ovember 29,1942. 

Statement of DONAT DUGHARIvS . (Surgical 7) 

Q (By Sergeant Banks) What is your name? 

A Donat Ducharme* 

Q Vvhere do you live? 

M». Main Street, i^'orth Grosvenordale , Connecticutft 

Q Where are j^^ou employed? 

A Employed by the American Optical, South bridge, Mass. 

Q Just exactly where were you sitting? 

A Right near the orchestra, both number 98. 

Q Where did you notice the flames coming from? 

ii Sitting the same way as the orchestra facing the crowd and the 

flame seemed to come from the ceiling on the left* 

(Ducharme draws diagram of where 
he was seated) 

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(George M. Godfrey, 1.^5 

Stenographer) City Hospital, 

November 29, 1942. 


Statement of PHISCILIA V/HITa> (Surgical 5) 
Q (By Sergeant Banks) V/hat is your name? 
A Priscilla Vi/hite» 
Q Where do you live? 
A 1869 Beacon Street, Brookline. 
Q Cen you tell me where you were sitting and where the flames 

came from? 
A I was in the new lounge room and the flames come in from the 

Grove » 

City Hospital, 
Boston, Mass», 
November 29,1942* 

Statement of MIB. DEE . 

Q (3y Sergeant /3e.nks) What is your name? 

A Mrs. Anna Dee. 

Q V/here do you live? A. 10 Bromfield Road, Somerville, 

Q V/here vere you sitting in the Gocoanut Grove? 

A At the foot of the stairs, Melody Lounge. 

Q Where did the flame appear to be coming from? 

A As you were facing the stairs to come up in the right over in 
the right hand corner. 

(^ Hew did it apper.C to be coming, from the ceiling or wall? 

A I healed a crackling, then the flames came. 

How did you get out? a. Stampede. I got as far as the stairs 
and somebody knocked me down and crawled up the stairs along 
the floor and I left by the regular front door* 







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(George M. Godfrey. 

Carney Hospital, 
S outh Bos ton , Mas s • , 
November 29, 1942. 







(By Sergeant Banks) V/hat is your name? 
Charles Mikalonas* 
How old are you? A»33* 

Where do you live? Ao 2 Ilercer Street, South Boston. 
V/here were you sitting in there? 
I v/ork there, assistant head waiter. 
Vvhen did you first notice the fire? 

I went downstairs and the next thing I saw fire and I ran 
upstairs and coming behind me, the flame come up so fast* 
vVhere did the flame come from? A» Downstairs. 
«<hat part of the building would that be in? 
I was in the lobby. 

Level with the street floor? i^.Yes. 
Pretty close to the entrance from Peidmont Street? 

Q VVhere did you actually see the flame coming from? 
A From downstairs. Melody Lounge* 
Q Did it come up in one big sheet of flame? 
A Ye So 

Q How did you get out? A. Jumped out the window from the third 
floor into the parking space* 

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(George M, Godfrey. 

Carney HospitoL , 
^outh Boston, Ma.«s». 
Nov ember 29,1942. 


statement of liJDiTH LE^.D^FiTTT^n:? , 
(By Sergeant Banks) ^^at is your naiie? 
Sdith Leadbetter* 
How old are you? A. 26. 

Where do you live? A. Swampscott, 63 ^'^alker Hoado 
What is your occupation? A. Secretary o 

Last night when you were in the Cocoanut Grove where were you 
sitting? A. Table on the floor near the main entranc 

opposite the stage where the floor show was, at the other end of 
the room. 

vften you first noticed fire there where did you see the flame 
comir^. from? a. Over to the right of the door; left as 
you come in. 

V/here did the flame appear to be coming from? 

1 couldn't tell,- right by the door* 

The door that leads onto Piedmont Street? 

Yes,- it came so fast. We started out another door somewhere 

and people falling over each other. V/e walked as fast as we 

could,- it got so smokeyo 

Do you know which door you got out? 

No, I don't know, \yhen I come to somebody was giving me 

artificial respiration. 


J J i43 9(.iq(D 







(George M. Godfrey. 


Carney Hospital, 
South Boston, Mass., 
November 29,1942 


Statement of mT^S. Ddrotey ^.UBil^N, 1379 Commonwealth 

Avenue, Boston. 
Sitting on the main floor with back to the lobby. Turned 
and saw flame in front lobby. I don»t know how 1 got out. 
I come to in here. 

City Hospital, 
Boston, Mass., 

Hovember 29,1942. 

Statement of LVlRGAi^ffT auj.. (Dowling 2) 

(By Sergeant Banks) What is your name? 
Blargaret Gill» 

vvHere do you live? A. 135 Medfoixi Street, Arlington. 

V^ere were you sitting in the Cocoanut Gro^.e last night? 

On the dance floor, full table, sixteen at a party. 

As you go in the main entrance straight aliead? 

No, more to the other side. About ten feet from the stairs. 

:^ou went in the main entrance? A.Yes. 

And you were on the main floor? 

Yes, opposite the orchestra. 

^en you first noticed the fire .^ere did it appear to be comi.^ 

^» ^ight at the doorway. John V/alsh the 
defense man said, "Don't get excited, a little fire." 
The fire was in back of you? A.Yer,. 
You had to turn around to look at it? A. Yes. 

V/hat did it look like? a a k- -u. ^ ^ 

xiKe. A. A big sheet of flame, sheets 

of flame o 

Q You had no idea where it came from? 

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A Noo We were going to leave quietly by the door* They could 
only open half of it» I don't remember what happened after 

Q Was 2^0^^ husband with you? 

A Pie is here,- burned* 

Q The flames spread rapidly? 

A You couldn't say one, two, three. 

Q Did it appear to be a curtain burning there? 

A No, I couldn't say that. I v^/as at quite a distance. 

City Plospital , 

November 29,1942 « 

Statement of AIxW lETTINI o (Bowling l) 

Q (By Sergeant Banks) V/hat is your name? 

A Ann Lettinio 

Q Vi/liere do you live? A. 302 Newbury Street, Boston* 

Q Fow old are you? A. 26. 

Q You work where? 

MX V/ork in the Cocoanut Grove check room. 

Q Can you remember about what time it was that you first noticed 
the fire? A. About 10:16 because the show just ready 

to go on* 

Q Where does the show go on? **» In the dining room. 

Q Vi/here were you employed at that time when you first saw the 
fire? A. Check room, near the Piedmont Street 

door, to the lefto I heard a lot of noise from people down- 
stairs rnd people come up and I figured a fight and they looked 
scared about something and all of a sudden I saw flame coming 
up from the Melody Lounge. I said to Barbara O'Brien, another 
girl that works there, I said, "Look." She said, "Let* a go 

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out." I tried to go out and saw the f lanes. I thoug'ht I better 
not» I tried to go out the main entrance on Piedmont Street 
and my hair bnming and pushed and pushed until I come out 
and hit the sidewalk and one of the fellows from Jack's restau- 
rant put butter on my head* 

Q .mere would you say the flames came from when you saw them? 
A From dov^nstairs, Melody Lounge « 

City Hospital, 
November ?9,1942. 

Statement of y. ALICE MAUISRY . 
Q (3y Sergeant Banks) What is your name? 
A V» Alice Mauls by* 

Q Where do you live? A. 18 Hampden Street, Wellesley. 

Q How old are you? A. 22* 

Q ^^ere were you in the Cocoanut Grove last night,- where were you 

sitting? A. I v/as just coming out of the ladies 

room and enveloped by smoke* 
Q Vi/here is the ladies room located? 

You go in the front door to a hall and the ladies room straight 

When you first noticed flames where did they appear to be coming 

^^""^ "'♦ Kiglit up the steps from the Melody 

Lounge downstairs. I never sav anythiig go so fast. 

What did you do? A. i^ escort was there looking for me aid 

made our v^ay over different people and somebody reached in end 

said, "Come on, sister," a small door. 

Did you try to get out the Piedmont Street entrance? 

No, I saw people trying to get out there and they couldn't and 

they went towards the back door. 



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Q How long would you say it all happened? 
A Three or four minutes. 

City Hospital, 
November 29,1942* 

Statement of DOROTHY DUCKARIvIE . (Dowlii^ 3) 

(By Sergeant Banks) vVhat is your name? 

Dorothy Ducharrae* 

V/here do you live? A. North Grosvenordale , Connecticut • 

V/here v^re you sitting? 

I v/as upstairs near the street levels Somebody hollered "figll, 

first o Then the flame came» 

'»Vhere did that flame appear to be coming from? 

To me near the palm near the cocktail bar* The smoke was 


What did you do then? 

VK'e all ran for the back door* I was taken out* 














City Hospital , 
November 29,1942. 

Statement of ELEANOR O^NEIL * (Surgical 3) 

(By Sergeant Banks) V/hat is your name? 

Eleanor O'Neill 

V/here do you live? A. 6S LaSalle Street, v/est Hoxbury* 

lii/here were you sitting? A* Right inside the door, 

first table, main entrance* 

How far away were you sitting from where you saw the flame? 

I didn't see it until it cone around the corner. It came from 

the Melody Lounge o 

With quite a sweep? i-** It went right across the ceiling* 

How did you get out? 

A* I fell dotm* I was carried out 


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V/hat door did you go out, do you remember? 
Back dooro. 

How far w ere you sitting from the back door? 
V/e went ar^ound corners and everythirug. 


19V9 ens aie 


(George M. Godfrey. Winchester Hospital, 

^stenographer) Winchester, Mass., 

November 29, 1942* 

Statement of ROLAJ^TD SO USA . 

Q (By Sergeant Banks) 'wliat is your name? 

A Roland Sousa* 

Q Kow old are you? A. 45» 

^ '«V?iere do you live? 

A Lincoln Hotel, Salem. 

q Can you tell us anything as to how the fire started? 

A I came down the Grove about quarter of ten* 

Q You know the streets around there? A.Yes. 

Q You went in the Piedmont Street entrance? 

A Yes. I went downstairs into the lounge, Melody Lounge. It was 
packed, and he cruised around to see if I could get a seat, and 
got down the end of the stairs to the right. I was just going 
to sit down ejid there is a little palm tree in the corner and 
it started to get aflame, but I didn't get too excited because 
I had seen that before ?nd they put it out* 
Q They had put it out on previous occasions during your visits 
there? A, Yes. 

Q V^Hiat do you attribute the cause of it, the tree getting afire? 
tt- I don't know. 

Q You actually saw that free afire? 

Yes. I heard them say, "Put it out, put it out." It hit the 

That is, the flame hit the ceiling? 

Yes, started to crawl all around the joint. They didn't stop it» 

I* got ahead of them. So we made for the stairs. The flames 

were on my heels and crawled right aloi^ .nd spread out ^nd then 




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Started smoking <> 

■^ Kov/ tall would you say those bushes or trees were in there? 

A Down there isn*t very high* I figure that palm tr*ee about three 

or four feet* 

Q Very dry? A. I guess so» 

Q But the first flame you saw when the palm tree was afire? 

^ Yes. 

Q It blazed up to the ceiling? 

A Yes. That ceiling is made up of clothy stuff. 

Q You. are referring to the drapes on the ceiling? 

i». Just the ceiling* 

Q Did anybody made an effort to put it out? 

A Trying to hit it out. 

Q Did the lights go out at that time? 

A No, I didn't see no lights go out. 

Q When you started out of the place were the lights out? 

A They were on. 

Q Hovtf much time elapsed from the time you first saw the flame 

until the whole room was enveloped in flames? 

A Seconds. 

Q Did you observe anybody around the bush previous to the bush 

getting on fire? A. No. 

Q How far were you from the bush? 

A The length of the bar. 

<^ Was there any wires on the bush, can you say? 

A I couldn't say. 

Q Any wires running from the bush to the ceiling? 

A I couldn't say that* 

Q ViTho was with you at that time, Ivir. Sousa? 






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Q Do you go in there quite often? 
A Once a weeko 







vVhat is your occupation? 

Machinist, United Shoe Machinery Corporation* 
How did you get out? 

I don*t knowo I guess somebody carried me out» 
And where was this particular bush located? 

As you come down the stairs to the Melody Lour^ge the bar is on 
the right and the bush is to the right. 
And were there any other bushes around there? 
I think they are all around the place* 




(George M, Godfrey, 

Folic e Headquarters , 
Boston, Mass*, 
November 30 , 1942 • 

Statement of ADOLPE CECGHINI . 
Q (By ^^ergeant Banks) What is your full name? 
A Adolph Gecchini. 
Q How old are you? A. 46 «> 
Q Where do you live? 
A 27 Wisconsin Avenue, Somerville.. 
Q What is 3^our occupation? A, Waiter* 
Q V»here do you work? A, Cocoanut Grove* 

Q How long have you worked there? A. About thirteen years. 
Q Were you working there last Saturday night, the night of the 

fire? A. Yes. 

■^ ./hat particular part of the building were you vorking in? 
A Shavmut Street side by the employee's entrance. 
Q '.Vriting on several tables there? A. Yes. 

Q What time did you. report for work? A, Four o'clock. 
Q IfVhil'e in there Saturday night -,hen did you first notice the 

fire? A* About fifteen minutes past ten. 

Q What did you notice at that time? 
A I noticed some party just come in and I had an order for it, 

kind of a cranky sort. 
«^ 'iVho was that? A. Karry Eusher. I was looking for my 

partner to give him the order but I didn't find him. So I come 

back to enter the dining room again ar.d by that time my partner 

comes up and he said, "Run away, there is a fire.^ 
Q Who is your partner? A. Frank Accursio. I said, "I 

don't see nothing." I ivent for the door and couldn't open the 


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Q VVhere was that door located? 

A On top of the kitchen,- door leads to Sbawmut Street* 

Q D±d you. open the door? A»l\ro. 

Q ViHiy? A. In the confusion* 

Q Was the door locked? A. I couldn*t tell you* 

Q How does the door usually open, mth a knob on the door? 

A I don't know* There is a grill in the middle of the door and a 
cloth for the blackout* I couldn't push it* I looked in the 
dining room again because before I couldn't see any fire. I 
took a peek in the dining room and saw black smoke coming from 
the kitchen up* 

Q Up to vv'here? A, Up the dining room* At that time I 
seen ell the people getting up* I ran back knowing two windows 
were there in the next bui3-ding -- 

Q Up towards Broadway or where? 

A Facing ohawmut Street* Those v;indows had an iron bar eight or 
nine inches apart* I looked at one and stuck my feet out but too 
narrow end went dov/n to another v/indow voider and. come out* There 
was a two by four there and tried to open the doors with the 

Q How many doors ai*e there on the Shawmut Street side? 

A Three doors. 

Q Do you know how those doors open? 

A One opens from the dining room with a lever, double doors* *»► 
fellow before me opened that door* 

Q «*hat was the reason you couldn*t open the door 2^0 u tried to? 

A I don't know* 

Q Was there a lever on that door? 

A No, an ordinary door, single door* 

Q W'fs it locked? ^-v, I don't know. 

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q Do you men have keys to these doors that are locked? 

A i^obody has keysj but you can get the key from a man in the 
kitchen* I think his name is Marco* 

Q KnovJ his full name? ik.iVo. 

i^ Is that his first name? A» Yes, a Greek fellow* 

Q -»hat is his occupation there? A» Kitchenman* 

Q How old is Marco? A. About 56 • 

Q He has sole charge of the keys? xi.,yes» 

^ how many exits to that building? 

A Exit by the side of the lounge, a door; another door main door; 
door in the coat room to the street^ door in the Melody Lounge 
inside the corridor; door that leads to the back alley; fire 
exits upstairs; two more doors on Shawmut Street side, employee* 

Q /ire those doors covered v.dth anything? 

A Some plain wood doors, some combination glass: one door covered 
vdth metal end a glass frame on the side* 

Q Hov; do those doors open, with a latch or key? 

^ I really don't know* 

Q Hov; v'ould you open those doors in a hurry? 

joi. There is a handle on them* 

Q iJid you notice whether the lights went out? 

A iVhen I was on the street banging the door from the outside the 
girls were upstairs ready for the show smashing the windovjs* I 
was cut from the glass on the forehead* I seen the main dining 
room wbs all dark* 

Q V^lien you left and got out to the street tlie lights were still on|? 

A Yes, still on at that time* 

Q *^ere the flames coming up from the main dining room? 



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A No flanrie* I just eaw smoke* 

Q Where would the nearest entrance be to you to get out of the 
building where you were working? 

A The fire exit* 

Q V.'here does that lead do? 

jk Shavv'mut Str^.et. 

Q This door you. stated was nearest to you, did you try that door? 

A NO* I tried the employee's entrance, tried to knock it down. 

i^ Vt/as. there a handle on that door? A* Yes. 

Q Did you take hold of the handle? 

ji No . 

Q V/hy not? A. Still the confusion. 

Q I am talking about when you were on the inside getting out? 

A Yes, on the inside there was a plank and tried to knock the 
door down but I couldn't, only broke some glass, «nd went in 
the next room and pushed myself through the iron baro 

Q -tire you sure you didn't try the latch on that door? 

Jii No, 1 didn't. 


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Police Headquarters, 
Boston, Mass., 
December 3, 194?, 


statement of FHEUSRIGK y. HARRDIGTOI^ . 

Q (By Lieutenant DiSessa) I am Lieutenant DiSessa of the 

Homicide Squad and this man is a police stenographer* I am 
going to ask you a few questions concerning the fire which 
occurred last Saturday night at the Cocoanut Grove* vVhat 
is your full name? 

Jk Frederick William Harrington. 

Q V/here do you live? 

A 19 Bennett Street, Brighton. 

^ Ave you married? it<» YeSo 

Q Vi/hat is your occupation? 

A Board of Health Inspector t?or the City of Boston* 

Q How long have you been a Board of Health Inspector? 

A Seventeen years* 

Q V/ere you at the Cocoanut Grove last Saturday night? 

A I was* 

Q Recall at what time you v/ent there? 

A About twenti'" minutes of eight* 

Q Did you go alone? ii* Yes, I went in alone and I 

met a party in there* 

Q You had an appointment with a party in there? 

A Yes* 

Q Recall which part of the Grove you were situated? 

A On the right hand side going on up by the stage, the second 
full table* 

Q On the main dining room flcor? 

A Yes, right aside of the stage* 

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Q How mai^y persons were sdated sit your table? 
A Fifteen. 







Do you know where the Melody Louni^e is in the (.rove? 

If I remember right, where you come in,- downstairs,- I really 

don't knovv* 

While you were there in the vicinity of 10:15 PJ.!., did same« 

thing attract your attention? 

At the time of the fire? 

Yes. V/hat attracted yo^jr attention,- did persons holler and 

scream? A. V/e were sitting down and Mrs. Donovan 

sittir^g right across from me. She said, "Is that a fight?" She 

was facing the main door where you come in on Piedmont Street, 

the revolving door. I was back to it. I ^-ot up and tujrned 

around and as I did I seen people aloi^g the side running down 

towards the corner near the door* All of a sudden I saw a flash 

of flame run up and hit the ceiling* 

Did the flash of flame come from the floor? 

Yes, dom by the end of the bar, the old fashioned long bar 

that was there* 

The bar with the cartoons? A. Yes. 

Would it be the one near the door? 

Yes, the revolving door* T said, "This is no place for us, get 

To what extent was the flajna? 

Very wide, the whole length of the floor to the ceiling* 

How far from the fire were you? 

I^rom here out to the elevator door. 

Twenty-:<^ive or thirty feet? 

Yes, and probably fifty feet. 

What did you do as a result of the fire? 


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A I turned around rnd sadd to my crowd, "This is no place for 

us, follow me." I had my eye on a little door on the left hand 

side of the stage, saw it while I was dancings 
^ When 3^on refer to that door you me en the door leading to 

Shav;mut street'? ^k. That is the one » 

^ You went in the direction of that door? 
A Yes» 

Q Were you alone at that time? 
*t Yes, and they started to follow me. 
Q Did you valk out of the door unassisted? 
A I certainly did* 
Q And you remained outside? 
ii Yes a 

Q Do you recall the approximate time you saw the fire? 
A I pulled my watch out a minute or tv/o before that and it v;as 

around eighteen minutes past ten with my watch. The watch was 

a couple of minutes fast* 
Q Do you know the cause of the fire? 
A I don't know the cause of the fire. 
Q Do you know how the fire started? 
A No, I don't* 

^ Could you estimate the crowd that was in the Cocoanut Grove? 
A t^ pretty good crowd » Our table and the table back of us v^'ere 

back to back, ^^hen we vjent out danciAg everybody had to. get 

up to let us outo 
Q V/ould you say the room in vihich you were was overcrowded? 
A I don't know about that, but I would say a hell of a crowd, 

seven or eight hundred. 
Q You mean ,1ust on that one floor? 


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A Yes • 

Q Does that include the new cocktail lourige? 

A Ho, just on that floor* 

Q There is a balcony around that floor? 

±x Yes, including that* 

Q^ You are including the persons at the bar also? 

A No, I didn't notice the people at the bar. Just people sitting 

down at tables ♦ 
Q V/ere you there before? 
A Once before, three years ago* 
Q A big a crov;d at that time? 
^ Fo, this croVi/d much larger* 

Q Did you observe persons screaming and hollering? 
A 'i^hey all started to scream and holler* 
Q During the time you v»?ere in the Cocoanut Grove did you observe 

the lights go out? 
A Just as I was going up the stairs to go cut the l^-ghts went out 
Q ifVas the door open at iihawmut Street? 
A It was» 

Q Do you know whether that door opens inv/ardly or outwardly? 
A I am pretty sure it opened inwardly* I think I pulled it this 

v;ay (indicating towards body). Before I got to the door I 

opened a window and it was barred* 
Q Have you, since this fire, discussed this with an^^one ndth 

reference to how this fire occurred? 
A Not hov; it occurred, but I did discuss it yesterday morning 

with this state committee, Freddy Doyle and those people up 

^ Have you made an^r statements there you haven't made here? 



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They asked the same questions. I told them where I v.'as sitting 
and how I got out. The only exit I noticed the one I went out 
otiier than the one I come in» 
You diii't know of any other exit? 


Q You knev; of the revolving door? 

A Yeso 

^ You entered through the revolvir]g door? 

^ Yes* 


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Division 4 
NoTemlDer 29, 1942 

The following statement was made to Captain John ^, 
McCarthy in the presence of i'rancis ^, Ahearn, 

State ment of NICK P AGOHIS 
(By Captain McCarthy) '^fnat is your full name? 

A Nick Pagonis. 

(^ And what is your occupation? 

A I am an ensign in the United States llaval Reserve, stationed 
at M.I.T,, i.iemorial Drive, Cambridge, 

<4 You were in the Cocoanut Grove last night, Saturday evening? 

A Yes. 

A^ At what time did you arrive? A, About 9S30. 

^ In company with v/hom? 

A With iinsign Donald Peterson, and Lieutenant Junior Grade 
John Senft. 

^ Anyone else? A. Just the three of us. 

^ Where were you seated? 

A "iie were seated in the lounge bar on the floor down near the 
south end. 

vi Did you go down to the kelody Lounge? A. Wo, 

Q Can you tell me how the fire started? 

A All I know is that about 10:10 I saw the smoke coming towards 
the bar up from the LI«lody Lounge, Someone yelled "fire'* 
and we three tried to hold the people back, but I don't know 
hov/ the fire started. llie people went v/ild. v,e were just 
battling to keep them back when the smoke got me and someone 
pulled me out, I think the work of the rescuers v/as 
unsatisfactory. vVhen the firemen came we grabbed the axes 
and broke windows. It seemed to me that all those rescue 
workers were in the way. They held back those v/ho v/anted to 

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(^ Do you knov/ what started the fire? 
A Someone said a match. Someone else said it started in the 

^i Somebody said a match started it? 

A There were rumors floating about an oil range in the kitchen. 
<4 'There were several causes expressed? 
A Yes, but no definite cause, 
^ Did you go into the Melody Lounge? 
A iVe v/ent down, to the Melody i^ounge in order to see if we could 

find a place but it would be ten or fifteen minutes before we 

could be seated, y/e could not find a place so we came out. 

Too many people and from what I could see of the place down 

there it was very congested, 
Q You have no knowledge or know of anyone v/ho has, as to how 

the fire started? A, No, I just saw the smoke, 
^ Gould you give me the names of any persons who got out? 
A I don't know. I think very few got out. 

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Division 4 

iio ¥6111139 r 29, 1942. 

I'he following statement was made to Captain John ^\ 
McCarthy in the presence of i'rancis d, Ahearn, 

Statement of JOHH H, SiII\[gT 
(By Captain I^cCarthy) What is your full name? 

A John li. oenft. 

^ You are a lieutenant, junior grade, in the United States 
Kaval Reserve? A. Yes, that's right. 

ii Where are you stationed? 

A Over at ivi.I.T. Electrical engineering, iviemorial Drive, 
Cam"br i dge , 

^ You were at the Cocoanut Grove last night, xioveraher 28? 

A That is correct. 

(i What time did you arrive? A. AlK)ut 9:45. 

v^ Who were you with? 

A iilnsign Pagonis and Ensign Peterson. 

^ Do you know what caused the fire? 

A lio, I do not. There v/as entertainment going on at the time 
and the piano player grahhed the mike. »1/lj.en he saw smoke, 
he said don' t rush. The flame kept coming up v/hen all of a 
sudden I heard a hiss of pressure and it swished all over, 
^ Where did the flames come from? 

A From the far corner there. 

i^ From the Melody Lounge? 

A In the corner down the corridor at the far end going in the 
Cocoanut Grove door, 

Q Do you know v/hat caused the fire? A. No, I have no idea, 

vi Is there any person you know of who would have any knowledge 
of the cause? 
No. I have not consulted anyone about the cause. 



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^ Did anyone express an opinion to you? Xoo 

A IJo, they did not. 

^, Did all your party get out? 

A Yes, we three managed to get out through the small door. we 

tried, to assist people to get out and we dragged some people 

out» The fire came up from behind them. All our party got 

^ Is there any person you remember who expressed any opinion 

in reference as to how this fire started? 
A Mo, there is nothing at all I have discussed v/ith anyone. 
^ You have no facts or information? 
A iJo. I Was too far away from the source, 

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Division 4 lOcJ 

Eoveraber 29, 19 42 

The following statement was made to Captain John P. 
LicCarthy in the presence of Francis j3, Ahearn, 

Statement of DOl^ALD JilDV/ARI) P.iJiT.-]H301T 

{By Captain McCarthy) What is your full name? 

A Donald -dldward Peterson, 

Q, You are an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve? 

A Yes. 

'^ Wciere are you attached? 

A Over at M.I.T., Memorial Drive, Gamhridge. 

^ You were in company with the two other naval officers last 

night at the Cocoanut Grove? A, Yes. 

1^ And you were constantly in their company? A. Yes. 

(4 Did you talk with any person who knew the cause of this 
fire? A. ¥o sir. 

(^ Have you any knowledge as to what caused the fire? 

A l^lot the slightest. 

<4 Did you hear anylDotty express an opinion as to the cause? 

A Ho, just wiiat I read in the papers. 

'4 You heard nothing last night? A. ITo. 

^ Can you give me any facts or information in regard to the 

A 1 know nothing about the cause. All I know is the fire 

started and people started to rush out and a cloud of smoke 

came up "behind them. 
y^ Where did the smoke come from? 

A Through the dance floor in the main part. 
^ Did you recognize any of the persons in there? 
A Wo, I did not. 

(4 You don' t know what caused the fire? 
A Ho, I do not have the slightest idea. 

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Division 4 
November 29, 1942 

The follov/ing statement was made to Captain John i>\ 
LlcGarthy in the presence of jj'rancis ^, Ahearn, 

citatement of KOBi^T T, JOBiia 

(By Captain licCarthy) What is your full name? 

A Robert T, Jones 

<4 And you are an ensign? A, Yes, ensign. 

t^ Where are you located? A. At M.I.T, 

Ql In company with other officers you went to the Gocoanut 
Grove last night? 

A I Was in company with one other officer, 

^ Who was he? 

A Merlin Jensen, 

^ Where were you seated? 

A We were seated in the new section on the main floor in the 
middle of the room. 

<^ Do you know vi^hat caused the fire? 

A I haven' t the slightest idea. I heard a slight commotion, 
jiverything seemed to "be quiet. I heard nothing. Then 
suddenly there seemed to be a commotion in that archway 
that leads through to the other section and I then noticed 
a fire. I picked up my cap and started to walk out in the 
general direction of the door and looked around and smoke 
was belching out. You could see the reflection of the 
flames and by then the crowd was in a panic. 

ici Do you know the cause of this fire? A. Uo. 

Q, Can you give me the name of any person who could assist us 
in determining the cause of the fire? 

A No, that is the first time I went in there, 



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Division 4 ^"^ 
l^ovember 29, 1942 

The following statement was made to Captain John S'. 
McCarthy in the presence of Prancis ill. Ahearn, 

Statement of l-£iiIRLIj^ R. JjMS^ai 

(By Captain McCarthy) What is your full name? 
A Merlin K, Jensen. 

^ You are an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve? 
A Yes. 

C^ And where are you situated? 
A At M.I.T. in Cambridge. 

<4 You were in company with someone? A. Mr. Jones. 
^ Was there anyone else in the party? 

i^ Did you go there to meet any ladies? A. No sir. 

(^ Where were you seated? 
A Right up at the bar right in front of the middle of the 

ballroom near the passageway that leads to the dance floor. 
^ Do you know the cause of the fire? A. ITo sir. 

(^ Did you hear the expression of any opinion? A, No sir. 
<^ Do you know of anybody who knows what caused the fire? 
A Mo sir. 
<i Did you recognize any persons who were there, outside of 

your own party? A. No sir. 

ii Can you assist us in any way to determine the cause of the 

A No sir. V/e arrived there about 10:05 and the fire started 

shortly afterward, 
(i Vthat happened after the fire started? 
A The fellow ahead of me fell and somebody hit me on the head 

v/ith his fist. 

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DiYision 4 -^^rtk 
Kovember 29, 1942 1^4 

The following statement was made to Captiin John P. 
McCarthy in the presence of Francis ^. Ahearn, 

Statement of BJJLlTRICig SINOiJlR 
(By Captain McCarthy) V/hat is your full name? 

A Beatrice Singer, 

^ Where do you live? A. 1153 Beacon Street, Brookline. 

(4 What is your husband's name? A. Sol Singer. 

Ci What is his business? A. Clothing manufacturer. 

ii Where is his place of business? 

A 16 iJew Street, Jlast Boston. 

vci You were at the Cocoanut Grove last evening? A. Yes. 

q, Ifhat time did you arrive there? 

A Approximately 8 o'clock. During the show. 

(^ Where were you seated? 

A Two tables from the bandstand. 

^ Anyone else in the party? A. Just us two. 

^ Any person in that club that you recognized? 

A No, we did not see anyone. 

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Division 4 J. 93 
EovemlDer 29, 1942 

The following statement was made to Captain John F. 
McCarthy in the presence of ij'rancis iS. Ahearn, 

St.a.tement of ^WARD Dil^IAGGIO 
[3y Captain McCarthy) What is your full name? 
A Mward DiMaggio. 
(^ What is your occupation? 
A Captain," United States Army Medical Corps, attached to Fort 

^ Were you in the Cocoanut Grrove last night? 

A That's right. 

^ Did you accompany someone there? 

A Nurse. Lieutenant Dorothy Cavanaugh, attached to 5^ort 


Where were you seated? 

In the lounge on the Broadway side. 

How did the fire get started? A. I don» t loiow. 
q A'here did you ohserve the smoke coming from? 
A The smoke apparently came from the hallway that leads 

directly into the lounge. 

Was there any panic there? A. The people stampeded. 

Do you know where the Llelody Lounge is? A. Yeso 
4 Did you go there? A. l\o» 

q, Did you talk with anyhody who observed the fire? 

A Somebody said fuel oil. 

wi Did anybody give you any definite information? A. No. 
v^ V/as there anyone else in the party? A, No. 

v^ Did you observe anyone there you recognized? A. No. 
Q, Can. you help us in determining the origin of the fire? 

A No. 




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Tuesday, December 1, 1942 
Station Four, Warren Avenue 
Albert Kreponitsky, Stenograph 


Q, (By Captain McCarthy) V^at is your full name? A. Jeremiah 

Bernard Crowley. 
Q Vftiere do you reside? A. 20 Dover Street, Boston, Mass, 
Q Are you married? A. No, single. 
Q How old are you? A. 42 years. 
Q, ^,*/hat is your occupation? A. I was a musician. 
Q V/hat is your present occupation? A. Dishwasher. 
Q, By whom are you employed? A. The Sole Mio, corner of Stuart 

and Tremont Streets. 
Q For how long have you been so employed? A. Last night I started 

I worked five days there three weeks ago. 
Q Have you any information that you could give to the Boston Police 

Department that would tend to show the cause and origin of a fire 

which occurred at the Cocoanut Grove, 17 Piedmont Street, on the 

night of November 28, 1942? A. No» 
Q, Have you discussed the fire at the Cocoanut Grove? A. We just 

Q Do you know where the Cocoanut Grove is? A. Yes. 
Q Were you ever inside? A. Yes. 
^ IVhat occasions did you have to enter? A. Worked nights as a 

Q How frequently have you had occasion to v;ork at the Cocoanut 

Grove? A. Three times. 
Q. V/hen was the first occasion? A. Last Thursday. 

q, That was Thanksgiving? A. Yes. 

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Q V^en next? A. The next night, on November 27, 1942. 195 

Q And the next occasion? A. On Saturday, November 28, 1942. 

Q V/hat were your hours on that date? A. 4:30 till closing time. 

Q, You reported at 4:30 o'clock P.M., on Saturday, November 28, 194^? 

A Yes. 

^ Were you there at the time of the fire? A. I got out. 

q, Were you working in the kitchen? A. Yes. 

Q, How did you leave? A. Through a windovv'. 

Q Which window? A. In the cellar. 

Q To where did it lead? A. Shawmut Street. 

Q Did you see anyone around where the fire started? A. No. 

(^ Do you know who stsirted the fire? A. No. 

Q, Do you know what caused the fire? A. No. 

Q, Would you, Jeremiah B. Crowley, have any information which would 

be of assistance to the Police Department in determining the caus|e 

of the fire? A. No. The only thing I know is what I have heard 
Q With whom have you spoken in regard to this fire? 
A Just talking in general. 
Q, Did you ever tell any person, man or woman, that you knew what 

the cause of the fire v/as? A. No. 
^ Have you ever told anyone that the Police Department or the 

authorities investigating the fire do not have the real cause 

of the fire? A. No. 
Q, Have you ever told any person at the Sole ISlo that you knew 

the Police Department did not have the real information as to 

the cause of the fire? A. No. 
<^ Have you ever discussed the fire with a lady? A. Just talking 

in general. She asked me how it started. I said I didn't know. 

I gave nobody information. 


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Q, And you did not tell any person that the matter as reported 
in the newspapers v;as not the way the fire started? A. No. 

Q Can you assist the Boston Police Depccctment in determining 
the cause of the fire? A. No. 

Q, Are you withholding facts or information that may prove of 
value to the Police Department? A. No. 

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December E, 1942 -■-«>" 
Station Four, Warren Avenue 
Albert Kreponitslcy, Sten. 

Statement of Beuben 0. Bodenhorn 
q, (By Captain McCarthy) VJhat is your name? A. Reuben 0. Bodenhonl. 
q ^Vhere do you reside? A. 270 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Mass. 

On the Ninth Floor. 
Q l/l/hat is your business? A. Interior designer. 
q. Did you at some time do some designing work for the Cocoanut 

Grove? A. Yes. 
Q 1-vho approached you on that subject? A. Bamet Welanski. 
Q vmen was that? A. in 1934. 
q Did you have supervision over the installation of the draperies, 

curtains and interior decorations at the Cocoanut Grove? 
A No. It was Joseph Dobesch. 

Q What is his business? A. He manufactures draperies. 
Qi Where is his place of business? A. 16 Fayette Street, Boston. 
Q Did you have any transaction with L/Ir. Barnet ?/elanski with 

reference to interior decorations? A. Yes. 
Q What was your part? A. Designing and suggesting what to do. 
q Did you suggest the material of the interior decorations? A. Yes 
^ Tell me what you advised and what was selected? A. At the time 

of the installation, it was a fireproof satin that was used. 
q, What time was that? A. 1937 or 1938. 
q, Were these the same curtains, draperies and decorations that 
were in the Cocoanut Grove at the time of the fire? A. I don^t 

Q Did you from that time you just mentioned have any occasion 
to make any new decorations? A. No. Maybe Dobesch did. 

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Q Describe what the type of material was. A. It was fireproof* '^'^ 
satin manufactured by Dobesch and purchased from the Maharnn 
Fabric Corporation, West 46th Street, New York City, K. Y. 

Q, Have they agents in Boston? A. No* 

Q, Did you make arrangements with the i-iiaharan Corporation with 

reference to the installation of the draperies? A. Mr. Welanski 
purchased the materials • 

(i Do you know how much material was purchased? A. No. 

Q They were fireproof ed? A. Yes. 

q, How do you know? A. All materials that come from Maharan 

Q Were they put through a fire proofing test? A. Always. 

Q Did you personally test them? A. We would burn a corner and 
taste it for a saline solution. 

Q, Was there a guarantee as to the period of time for which they 
would be fireproof? A. A year or more. 

Q At the end of a year they should be sprayed with fireproof ing? 

A Yes. 

Q If they were not sprayed at the end of that, time they might 
become inflaiamable? A. Yes. 

(^ Were they sprayed since being purchased? A. I don't know. 

Q, If the material was to be resprayed to continue its resistance, 
by whom would the work be done? A. I don't know. 

Q, Does Joseph Dobesch have the workings of that? A. I knov/ that 
several times he has been called by Barney to get it. Whether 
he did it or whether Joe did it, I don't know. We sprayed every 
thing in the place when the Melody Lounge was sprayed. 

Q If/hen was the Melody Loi^ge sprayed? 

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A In 1938. 


q, This is the last of 194S. Having this in mind, that would be 
four years? A. Yes, 

Q Could you feel, with any degree of safety, that curtains could 
be fireproof at the end of that period of time? A. If it is 
the original, I would say it would necessitate f ireproofing. 

Q Did you have supervision of the draperies in the lielody Lounge? 

A Yes. 

Q What was the material used in the ceiling of the Melody Lounge? 

A Fireproof blue satin. 

d Was the material used in the roofing the same as that of the room^? 

V/as it all of the same coloring? A. Yes. 
Q, Were the slip covers fire-proof? A. I don»t know. 

Q mat was the material behind the fabric covering the ceiling? 
A Concrete. 

ft was any of the frame-work wood? A. Yes. For tacking purposes, 
ft DO you recall the installation of palia trees (imitation) in the 

Melody Lounge? A. Yes. 
ft How many? A. Five, 
ft DO you know where they came from? A. I think the leaves and 

the husk came from Chelsea Botannical, Hew York City. 
ft Do you know their address? A. I don't know. 

ft vmen were they purchased? A. At the time I decorated the room. 
In 1937 or 1938. 

ft were they tested for being fireproof? a. Originally, yes. 
ft By whom were they tested? A. By the Fire Department. 
ft was a test made in your presence? A. Hot in my presence. 
But I tested them at the time, in 1937 or 1938. 

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IfVliat does testing consist of? A. VVhy, by putting fire to it. 

How mucli fire is applied? a. Just by burning a match. 

Would that be sufficient? A. Yes. 

For how long a period of time is the flame applied? A. I hold 

it till I am sure it won't burn. 

Would that be a fair way to determine the fire resistance of 

the material? A. There is always a stamp to show the material 

has been fireproofed. 

Assuming there was a steady fire of some magnitude, would that 

be a fair test to give it? A. I have seen a blow torch put 

to some material. 

Q How often are the plam trees guaranteed to be fireproofed? 
A In my mind, I would say that they would have to be taken care of 
every six months. 

q Sprayed with what substance? A. I don't ioiow. \Vhen first 
bought, they are dipped. 


At the expiration of six months, they should be re-sprayed? 

Q Have you any idea as to the material in the palm tree? A. The 
natural leaf. They are quite expensive when you buy them. 

^ The husk or trunk of the tree. Of what material is that? A. Fir^ 
proofed material. 

Q That must be sprayed every six months? A. Yes. 

q lYhen imitation palm trees are placed in a place of business, do 
you know if they are given a test? A. No. 

q Can you describe the interior and decorations of the Melody Lounge, 
at the Cocoanut Grove? A. ^e ceiling was a fireproof blue satii 
The walls were covered with a fireproof red tan fi^m the top to 

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to the backboard. Other portions of the room were covered ^^'-^ 

with one-inch thick planking sprayed with fi reproofing* 
q ¥/ho did the fireproof ing? A. The material was purchased by 

Joe Dobesch. The spraying was done by employees. 
Q. How long would it remain on wood? A. I don't know the reactioi. 

of a piece of wood to that. The floor was tile on concrete. 
Q, Was there any carpet? A. I did not put any down. 
^ Didn't you know from your visits to the Melody Lounge? 
A They took the carpet down when the sewer backed up. Then they 

put on this tile. I walked through two weeks before the fire. 
(^ For what purpose was that? A. I went through on the opening 

night of the IJew Lounge. I walked through the Cocoanut Grove 

and went downstairs and through the New Lounge to find someone. 
Q Do you know whether the draperies or fabric put on the ceilings 

and walls have ever been f ireproofed after the installation. 
A No fabric on the walls. 

Q On some parts of the walls? A. On the settees. 
Q Do you know of your own knowledge, if there were any instructioi](s 

with reference to spraying? A. No. 
Q, Did you ever inquire on your visits after the installation 

of this material if they had been f ireproofed? A. No. 
Q, Did you observe tv/o fans to circulate the air in the Melody 

lounge . A. Yes . 
Q Describe where they were located. A. One fan was an 18 or 24 

inch fan on the Piedmont Street side for the purpose of bringing 

in fresh air and a larger fan of 30 inches off the back side 

facing towards Shawmut Street. 
Ql Y/ould these fans tend to dry out the fireproofing? 
A Heating would shorten the life of f ireprodfing 

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Q Is there any arrangement or guarantee that after the installatioi 

of these draperies and fabrics that periodic inspections and 

applications of fireproof ing would be made by the concern making 

them? A, I don't think so. 
Q, Have you any information as to whether or not this material 

has ever been fireproof ed? A. I have not. 
Q Wio would know? A. The management of the Cocoanut Grove or 

the maintenance men. 
Q would there be an extra charge if this were done? A. I don't 

(i Could you estimate how expensive it would be to have re-f ireproof|- 

ing in the Cocoanut Grove? A. You buy it by the gallon. I don» 

know the cost. 

q, Do you know of any other places where this material is used, 

in the dining room, dance hall, or ceiling decorations? A. Nothing 

that I have done. 
Q Are there any other places in Boston, to your knowledge, where 

such decorations are installed? A. I have been told there are 

palm trees in Izzy Ort's, but I don't know. 
Q, Do you know of anyone who could help out in this matter? 
A The maintenance men of the Cocoanut Grove. 
Q Vfliat is your telephone number? 
A Commonwealth 1648. 

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Police Headquarters, 
Boston, Mass. , 
December 2, 1942, 

The following statement v/as made to Lieutenant Louis 
DiSessa, Homicide Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, in 
the presence of Harold Kraus, Stenographer, 

Statement of RAYlifOND BAER ; 
(By Lieutenant DiSessa) V/hat is your full name? 
Raymond Baer. 

Where do you live? A, 88 Gordon Street, Allston. 
How old are you? A, 26, 
Are you married? A. Yes, sir. 
What is your occupation? A, Shipfitter. 
Are you employed? A. Yes, sir. 
By whom? A. Boston Navy Yard, 

How long have you been employed there? 
Two and a half years. 

Are you also an electrician? A. Yes, sir. 

How long have you done electrical, work? 
Qh, about eight years. 

Were you in business for yourself? A. No, sir. 
Do you know the owner of the Cocoanut Grove? 
I knew Barney Welansky. I guess he is the ov/ner. 
Did you perform some electrical work in the Cocoanut Grove? 
Yes, I did, 

V/hen was that? A. During the months of October and 

November of this year. 

And was that work performed under a contract? 
I was working by the hour, 
v;as that as the result of an agreement that you had made with 


A. Yes, sir. 

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Q V/ith v/hom did you make that agreement? 

A Barney V/elansky. 

Q How much an hour were you to receive? 

A One dollar an hour. 

Q V/hat kind of work were you to do? 

A Installing electrical fixtures. 

Q, Can you describe those electrical fixtures? 

A There v;ere ceiling fixtures, wall "brackets and floor plugs. 

Q, Where were these installations to be done? 

A In the new cocktail lounge, 

Q, Is that in the Cocoanut Grove? 

A That is the addition to the Grove. 

Q It is the new addition? A. Yes, sir. 

Q When was this new addition completed? 

A Well, I don*t think the place is actually completed as yet. 

Q Is it still in the process? 

A V/ell, there v/ere men working around there, 

Q You nov/ knov; it is completed? A, As far as I know, yes 

Q, ViThen did you start to v/ork there? 

A Somewhere around the latter part of September or the first 

part of October. 

Q. V/hen did 3^ou terminate your work? 

A There was something there, the whole job wasn't completed 

because of the fact there was one box, a starting box. 

Q, Have you ter-minated your v/ork at the Cocoanut Grove? 

A No , sir • 

Q, Did you install electrical fixtui'es in the mens room? 

A Yes, sir, 

Q, Did you install electrical fixtiires in the ladies room? 

A Yes, sir. 

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Over the bar? A. Yes, sir. 

Is that bar in the new cocktail lounge? -A, Yes, si^j*. 

Did you. install fixtures on the v/all or the walls of that 

room? A, Yes, sir. 

And in the installation of these fixtures did you have to 

run wires through the walls and ceiling? 

Yes, B X. 

That is called B X wires? A. Yes, sir. 

Are you a licensed electrician? A. No, sir. 

Did you have a permit to perform this work? 

Not myself, no. 

Do you know if a permit was issued for the performance of 

this work? A, That is something I don*t know. 

Was anything ever said about a permit? 

Yes, a while back a letter vms received. 

^/fhen you say a v/hile back, how long ago would you say it was? 

A couple of weeks ago. 

That is, after you had started the work? 

A letter was received to v/hat effect? 

A. Yes 

I didn't read the letter but I was told there v^as something 

mentioned about a permit. 

ViOiat was said about a permit? 

I was called up in there with Mr. Welansky and Mr. Rudnick. 

He was the contractor. 

He was contracting the building? 

The remodeling of the building. 

You said, "I was called up there". V/ho celled up for you 

to go up there? A. Ivlr. Rudnick. 

Yes, A. And there was talk about the permit 

among the three of us, about no permit being on the job and 



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Mr* Rudniok said it would all be talcen care of, 
Q, And that was after you had been working there about six 

weeks? A, Approximately. 

Q \Yhen you mentioned permit did you mean a permit for the 

electrical construction? 
A Yes, the wiring, permit for the wiring* 

Q, Now, did you perform any electrical work in the Melody 

Lounge? A, Q,uite some time ago. 

(^ You know what I mean by the Melody Lounge? A, Yes, si:|*. 

Q, And you knov/ where that is located in the building? ■ 

A Yes, sir. 

Q, Y/here is it located? 

A That is in the opposite end of the entire building, away 

from the new cocktail lounge. 
Q, And you said you performed that work about three years ago? 

A Yes, sir. 

Q. What was the nature of the v/ork at that time? 

A Alterations. 

Q, Alterations on what, the walls, ceilings? 

A On the walls, ceilings and the bar. 

Q Did you install B X wires at that time? A. Yes, sir. 

Q Through the walls? A. Yes, sir. 

Q, Did you run it through the four v/alls? 

A I don't think so. 

^ Did you run the B X wires through the ceiling? 

A I think I did. 

Q, Did you run the B X wire through the floor? 

A Well, that was a concrete floor, if I remember correctly and 

there was a wire run through there in a lead covered cable. 

Q. Did you make connections to that B X wire on the walls? 



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Yes, I attached fixtures. 

And you connected fixtures to that wire? A. Yes, sir. 

Do you recall in which part of the room you connected those 

fixtures? A. Offhand, I don't know. 

Was it very high from the floor? 

Approximately midway, I should say. 

How many wall fixtures did you install? 

I don't remember hov/ many. 

V/ould you say it was fovir or five or six? 

Maybe four or five, I don't remember exactly, 

Gould you screw electric bulbs into those fixtures? 

Well, they were that type, yes, but there was some sort of a 

placque there. 

Could you insert electric bulbs into these fi^rbures so as to 

get light? A, Oh, yes. 

Could you screw and unscrew the bulbs, if required? 

Yes , sir o 

Did you at the time that you did these repairs in the Melody 

Lounge have a license? A, No, sir. 

Did you at that time have a permit to do the vrark? 

Not myself, no. 

You were the only electrician doing the v/ork at that time? 

I was the one doing the work. 

Did you know you were required to have a license at that 


V/ell, I didn't know whether or not that job was to be covere^ 

by anyone else, or not. 

You knew a license was required to do that work? 

That's right. 

You made no effort to get a permit to do the work? 

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No, sir» 

V7as an^^hing said about a permit to do the work? 

No, sir. 

You have heard about the fire that occurred there last 

Saturday night? A. I have. 

Have you heard in v/hich room that fire occurred? 

Yes, sir. 

^Vhat room did it occur in? A. The Melody Lounge. 

And is that in the same room you did yo\n* virork? 

Yes, sir. 

Did you hear anything about a short circuiting of wires? 

No, I didn't. 

Was anything said about wires being short circuited? 

No, sir. 

Do you know what caused the fire? 

Only what I saw in the papers about the match. 

Did you read in the paper where a young man, employed there 

as a bus boy got on a chair to screw in a bulb? 

Yes, sir. 

Was that the fixture that you installed? 

I don*t know. I don't know just where the fixture was that 

he put the bulb in. 

Did you ever see a palm tree in the Melody Lounge? 

Yes, sir. 

Did you ever see a fixture near the palm tree? 

No, I don't remember. 

Was your v/ork inspected after you completed it? 

I don't know. 

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eleotrical work that work has to be Inspected? 

Yes, I know that. 

Can you give us any reason v/hy you dldn*t obtain a permit 

for this work? 

Because I am not a licensed electrician and I can't obtain 

a permit. 

But don't you know you are not permitted to do work without 

being licensed? 

If the job is being covered by a licensed man, 

Don*t you know you are not allov;ed to do electrical work 

without a license? A. I didn't know there was such a law. 
On this occasion you weren't covered by another man, were 


A, That is something I don't know. 


But you performed the v/ork? 

I performed the work but things were said that everj^thing 

was taken care of. 

ViThat do you mean by things were to be taken care of? 

Things were to be taken care of as far as I know. 

Did you make any agreement with Mr, Rudnick? 

I didn't make any agreements with Mr. Rudnick. 

V7as that only a presumption on your part, you presuming 

things would be taken care of? 

That's right. 

You can^t base any facts on that performance, can you? 

Outside of the fact I v/as called up there in regard to the 

permit and it was mentioned there was going to be one and 

things were going to be taken care of. 

Viho said it was going to be taken care of? 

I believe it was Mr, Rudnick. 

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Q Did he say how it v/as going to be taken care of? 

A No, sir. 

Q, Did you know how it was going to "be taken care of? 

A No. I Just presumed it was going to be covered v/ith a 

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December 3, 1942 
Station Four, Warren A^fe 
Xreponitsky, Stenographer 

Statement of HERBSRT SHSIN 

q, V»liat is your name? A. Herbert She in 

Q Any middle initial? A. No, 

^ How old are you? A. 25 years. 

q, mere do you live? A. Boarding in V/altham, 104 Crescent Street. 

Q, Your home is where? A. 9752 75th Street, Ozone Park, Long Island, 
New York* 

q You are a veterinary student in Middlesex University in Waltham? 

A Yes, My second year up there, 

q. Aside from your studies at the University, did you have some 

other employment? A. Yes. I am working for the Cocoanut Grove. 
q. How long? A. Since September of 1942. Only week ends, Friday 

and Saturday nights. 

q V/hat were your duties? A, A bar waiter downstairs in the 
Melody Lounge, 

Q How long have you been employed as a bar waiter? A. Since 

q, Do you know a young man named Stanley Tomaszewski? A, Yes. 
I don't know hiiii by that name. He has only been working there 
for a few weeks. That wasnH the name I addressed him by. 
q Friday and Saturday as a bus boy? A. In the same capacity as 

q Miat capacity is that? A. Bar waiter. Although he may have 

worked as a bus boy that particular weekend. 
Q, Coming down to Saturday evening, November 28, 1942, what time 

did you report to work? A. 4:30 or ll:15 that evening. 


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Q, Wliat were your duties that evening? A. Going down the Icitchen 

and bringing up trays of olean glasses. M7 Jo^ is to load up 

the bar upstairs, 
Q, ^.Vhat bar do you nean? A. The bar on the level with the main 

dining room. 
Q Did you observe anyone unscrew a bulb from a socket? A. No# 
Q Were there any remarks about unloosening a bulb? A. No. 
Q, Did you observe anyone getting up on a chair? A. No. 
Q How far were you from the fire? A. I was about 30 feet away 

from the fire. 
Q V/hat first attracted your attention to the fire? A. There is 

a stairway leading up to the lobby floor. I had tv;o tables on 

one side of the stairs and seven tables on the other side. 
Q, And your duties at those tables are to take drinks from the bar 

to the tables? A. Yes. 
Q Did you have any conversation with Stanley Tomaszev/ski before the 

fire? A. No. 
Q, Did he tell you he unscrewed a bulb? A. No. 
q, Did you see him strike a match? A. No. I could not see him. 
^ "What was the first you observed of the fire? A. I had seven 

tables and worked there. A woman yelled "look". I turned around 

and saw the flames and the entire quarter of the wall was all 

lit up. Just one big yellow flame. 
Q What was the material in that corner? A. Straw. 
Q Did you see a palm tree? A. Yes. 

q Was it burning? A. Yes. That was the centre of the fire. 
Q Which becqme ignited first? The palm tree or the decorations? 
A I don't know, 
q The first tltae you saw a fire was when the woman yelled "look"? 

A Yes. 

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(^ Did you observe any person over there? A. No. 

^ You Vi^ere standing at tiie time? A. Yes. 

q Did you see any person atterapting to extinguish the fire? 

A No. 

q What did you do then? A. They were standing three-deep at the 

bar in front of me. 

Q TlVho was that? A. Customers. 

Q ^Vhat happened then? A. My first reaction when I saw the fire 
was to pull a hero role and put out the fire. I rushed tov/ard 
it attempting to get to the fire. No sooner did I hit the foot 
of the stairs when the crowd understood its predicament and 
pushed me up the stairs. 

Q, Did you see Tomaszev;ski or Bradley the bartender? A. No. 

Q Do you know what caused the fire? A. No. 

Q, 7/as there any talk about someone in the Melody Lounge, a patron, 
unscrewing a bulb? A. No. 

Q Did you ever learn from any source that anyone unscrewed a bulb? 

A Just from the nev^spapers. 

q Have you talked with Tomaszewski? A. I saw him Sunday. I met 
him dovmstairs in the Boston City Hospital. 

Q, What conversation did you have? A. He asked me whether I had 
seen this boy, Joe, who was in the New Lounge. 

Q Tell me everything Tomaszewski said to you at the Boston City 
Hospital Sunday, at 2:30. A. We were both more or less upset 
and he wanted to kno^N whether I knew Joe had been found and that 
his mother was worried. He was in the hospital all night and 
had not seen Joe since the fire. He started crying. That was al 
It was Yevy brief. 
^ Did Stanley'' Tomaszev;ski make any remark about his being requested 

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by any person to screw in a bulb or get up on a chair to screw 
in a bulb? Did he tell you how the fire started? A. No. 

Q Did he offer any information as to how the fire started? A. No. 
We did not pass one word about the fire itself. 

Q Did Toniaszewski tell you where he was Just before the fire? 

A No. 

Q Did he tell you or give you any information with reference to 

his knowledge of as to how the fire started? A. No. 
Q, Did, at any time in your conversation with Tomaszewsici, he give 

you any information in any way as to how this fire started? 
A NO. 
Q Tf/hen did you first learn that Tomaszewski had gotten on a chair 

to screw in a bulb? A. In the nev/spapers. In the afternoon 

papers in Y/altham. 
(J Did you talk with John Bradley the bartender since this happened? 
A No. 

Q "What position to work did Tomaszewski have in the Lounge bar? 
A Over on the side where the fire started. 

Q Hov/ many bus boys were there? A. Three. One of them was Harry. 
4 Kow many waiters? A. Yle were waiters. 
Q How many bartenders? A. Three. Paul, John Bradley and Mr* 

q Anyone else? A. That's all. 
Q V^en you observed this fire, you attempted to go over to put it 

out? A. Yes. 
Q, How near to the fire did you get? A. To the foot of the stairs 
Q, How far was that from the flames? A. 15 feet. 
Q Vtoat happened then? A. The mob carried me up the stairs. I got 

burned and my ears singed. The fire was upstairs when we got 

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to the top of the stairs. It was there ahead of us. 
q, "f^Vhat happened when you got upstairs? A. My coat was burned. 

I ripped it off. 
Q, Vi/hat happened then? A. I fell on the floor on my back. 

I got up and walked out of the place through the revolving 

door which leads to Piedmont Street. 
Q, Then what happened? A. I wandered around for a while and 

met a waiter from the Mayfair who recognized me and placed some 

butter on my face. 
Q Were there any air circulating fans in the Melody Lounge? 
A Yes. I don't know exactly the type of ventilator, but they had 

these boards along the walls. May have had more than two, but 

two definitely. V»hen the place got hot, I pulled down one of 

these boards working on a hinge, and cool air would rush in. 
Q Do you knov/ whether or not those fans were in operation at the 

time of the fire? A. ITo. 
q Is that the means of circulating the air for ventilation? A. Yea. 

A singer would request one of the waiters to open that thing 

for her when she got hot. 
q, Where was that located? A. One not more than three or four feet 

away from this particular corner. 
Qi Where? A. On the ceiling and to reach it I had to get up on 

a couch. 

Q What are the dimensions of the fan? A. About 8 feet wide and 

about 3^ to 4 feet in length. 
Q V/as it a circulating fan or an exhaust? A. I don't know. 
Q How many were there? A. Two* 
Q, All are on the wall? A. Yes. 
Q, Both operate on the extreme ends of the Melody Lounge? A. Yes. 

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(i V/ere tiiey in operation that night? A. I don't Jmow. 

q, ;Vhat caused this fire to spiked so fast? A. I don't Icnow. 

Q Have you talked with any person since this fire who would give 

information as to how the fire started? A. The survivors would 

Q But you don't know? A. No. 



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December 3, 1942 317^ 
Station Four, Warren Avenue 
Albert Kreponitsky, Stenographer 

Statement p_f JACOB B« GOLDFIKE 

Q, (By Captain McCarthy) IfVhat is your name? A. Jacob B. Goldfine» 

(^ Where do you reside? A. 268 Normandy Street, Roxbury, 

Q How old are you? A. 47 years • 

Q Are you single or married? A. Single. 

Q What is your occupation? A. I was manager of the bars and 
wine stores and hired help for the bars at the Cocoanut Grove. 

Q Did you Imow a boy named Stanley Tomaszewski? A. Tes. 

Q What were his duties? A. To clean up the tables. 

Q What other duties did he have? A. Closing up, cleaning up the 
bars, taking out the glasses. 

^ Did he handle liquor from the bar? A. Not supposed to. 

Q Do you know who employed him? A. He had worked in that capacity 
for about three days. I think it was Thursday, Friday and Satur- 
day. How he got into that position was because I was short a man 
Frank Balzarini, head waiter of the dining room sent this man intp 

(^ Frank Balzarini is the head waiter? A. Yes. 

Q Did he employ this Stanley Tomaszewski? A. Yes. 

(i Are you sure he hired him? A. Yes. 

Q, When a person is employed by the Cocoanut Grove, is an application 
form made out? A. I asked for the Social Security card. If 

'^ they don't have one, I don't employ them, i understood that 
Erank Balzarini had taken care of it. 
Q, Did Balzarini come through the fire? A. No. He died in the fir(5. 


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Q Do you Imow whether or not he (Stanley Tomaszewski ) would make 

out an application form stating his age, parents, birthplace, 

etc.? A. I imagine Frank would do the same as I did. 
(^ Wit^ reference to the draperies and ceiling materials in the 

Melody Lounge; do you know who purchased that material? 
A I know the decorator who purchased it? 

Q Do you knov; his name? A. Joseph Dobesch, 16 Fayette Street. 
^ Do you know whether or not, during the period of time that you 

have been connected with the Cocoanut Grove, the draperies and 

the fabric on the ceiling were ever sprayed with fireproof 

material? A. In the lounge? 
Q Any part. A. I personally did not see it, but I know 

there was talk about having it done at times when I was not in. 

That was done during the day. 
Q Do you know, from your own knowledge, as to whether or not 

anybody had been assigned to do that? A. I don't know. 
Q Never sew it done? A. No. 
Q Do you knov/ whether or not any fi reproofing material was 

supplied to be sprayed upon the draperies and ceiling? 
A Quite a while ago there was talk about having somebody come in 

and do it. I don't know whether or not it was done. 
q, ^Irlio would have knowledge of any person if they were so assigned 

to spray the material? A. Mr. Barnet Welanski or Mss Gnecco. 
ft Do you have any knowledge as to how long a period of time the 

draperies and ceiling fabric was guaranteed to be fireproof? 
A No. 

Q Have you ever heard it discussed? A. No. 

Q Have you ever talked the matter over with Dobesch or Bodenhorn? 
A No, that was not my Job. 

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^ So that if there was anybody assigned to spray the building ^Im' 

it would be whom? A. Dobesch, Gnecco or IVelanski. 
Q, Miss Gnecco would have the records of that? A. Yes. It would 

be she who would have the authorization to pay for it. 
Q IVhere were the palm trees purchased? A. I don't know. 
Q, Who would know? A. I don't know. 
Q How many palm trees in the Melody Lounge? A. Four. 

Many people smoked and lit matches without setting the palms 

on f ire . It was more than that . 
(i What do you mean? A. Some fumes or gas caused the fire. 
(^ Any opinion? A. No 9pinion. 
^ Have you any opinion as to anybody who might knovj what caused 

the fire? A. No. I don't think the palm or cloth could do 

anything like that. 
(^ Have you any information that would be of value to the Boston 

Police Department in clearing up this cause of the fire? 
A Not more than what I have told you. 
Q, Was the Rattan fireproof? A. I don't know. 

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December 3, 1948 

Station Four, Warren Avenue 

Albert Kreponitsky, Sten. 

Statement of JOSEPH DOBESCH 
Q (By Captain McCarthy) vVbat is your name? A. Joseph Dobesch. 
q Where do you reside? A. 16 Fayette Street, Boston, Mass. 
Q What is your occupation? A. Drapery and installation man. 
Q Is 16 Fayette Street your place of business as well as your 
residence? A. Yes. 

'I For how long have you been in the business? A. 31 years. 

Q, Are you the sole owner of the business? A. Yes. 

Q This business you are engaged in is installing draperies and 

interior decorating? A. Only draperies. 
Ci That would consist of fabric for ceilings, walls, and settees? 
A Yes. 

q Were you at some time engaged to put curtains and ceiling 

material in the Cocoanut Grove? A. Yes. 
Q When were you first approached on that? A. Well, I have done 

the work in the Cocoanut Grove for the past six years, on and off 
q When was the last time you did work at the Cocoanut Grove in 
reference to draperies? A. All the labor and supplying some 
of the materials in the New Lounge Bar two weeks ago. 
q What did you do two weeks ago? A. I installed the wall settees 

that I had made for the New Lounge Bar. 
Q When was the first time that you had occasion to put new draperies 

or new materials on the ceiling at the Cocoanut Grove? 
A About five or six years ago. 

q Who engaged you at that time? A. Uc. Bodenhorn. 
q Is that Ivlr. Reuben 0. Bodenhorn? A. Yes. 
q As a result of Mr. Bodenhorn' s engaging you about six years 

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ago, what did you do? A. At that time, they were painting 2^1 
and redecorating the Grove. I installed a balloon ceiling over 

the dance floor. 
Q You are familiar with the interior of the Coooanut Grove? 

A Yes. 

^ Do you kaoYi where the Melody Lotinge is located? A. Yes. 

Q Did you install the curtains and draperies in the Melody Lounge? 

A Yes. 

Q, "When was the first time you did that? A. About 4 years ago* 
Q xvho engaged you at that time to do that? A. Mr. Bodenhorn. 
Q VJhat did you put in there at that time? A. Black velouison 

the ceilings and walls. 
Q, Is that fireproof? A* Yes. 

Q V/as that black velours there at the time of the fire? A. No. 
Q, When next did you change the materials in the Melody Lounge? 
A About two years ago* 
Q V^at did you install then? A. I installed a dark blue satin 

ceiling. I recovered the settees and chairs that were in that 

^ Y/as the black velours removed from the ceiling and walls? 

A Yes. 

Q, This material that you installed has been there for two years? 

A Yes. 

^ V/here was it purchased? A. At either of two sources. The 

Maharan Fabric Corporation, 130 West 46th Street, New York City 

or Dazien, Incorporated, 142 Y/est 44th Street, New York City. 
Q, You are in doubt, Mr. Dobesch, as to which concern you purchased 

the fabric from. A. Yes. Because both of them at times supply 

some of my fabrics. 

Q Could you, by looking up your records, show 

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the concern from whom you purchased the materials which were 
in the Cocoanut Grove at the time of the fire? 

A Yes, I can. But I will have to look through my records. 
At times the fabrics were purchased and sold direct to the 
Cocoanut Grove by the firms mentioned* ,. 

Q Your records would clear that up? A. Yes. 

Q Are you familiar with the substance in the materials? 

A This is a cotton-back satin, chemically treated, and as we 

call it in the trade, "flameproof^ material to conform with the 
various regulations throughout the United States. 

Q, Is that material tested before being installed on the windoy/s 
and ceilings? A. They are sold as flameproof and tested as 
such by the various departments that have supervision over it. 

Q Have any tests been made of this material before or after it 
had been hung up at the Melody Lounge? A. At the time of the 
installation, there were several tests made by various people 
that came in and out of the room. 

<^ IfVhat did the test consist of? A. Taking a piece of cloth and 
putting a match to it. 

Q V/hen was that done and by whom? A. Everybody practically. 
They came into the room and tested it at that time. 

Q Was that test made in the Cocoanut Grove or before the material 
arrived? A. In the Cocoanut Grove. 

Q How long ago was the test made? A. At the time of the in- 
stallation, two or three years ago. 

Q \Vhat month or day? A. I would have to look that up in my 

ii That test was made by the burning of a match and applying it to 
the material. A. Yes. 

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^ That test was made by more than one person? A. Yes, many people 
did it. 

Q What was done at that particular time? A. Mr. Bodenhom tested 
it in the presence of several officials. I have no knov/ledge 
of the members of the group or whether they were city officials. 

q, Do you know from your own knowledge, how long a period of time 
that material is guaranteed to be fireproof? A. One year. 

Q Does a written guarantee go with the purchase? A. No written 

guarantee. On req.uest a certificate is supplied that the material 
has been flameproof ed in accordance with certain rules and regula- 
tions of the various cities. 

Q At the expiration of a year was anything in the Cocoanut Grove dcjne 
in reference to fireproof ing? A. That would be beyond my 
knowledge. I do not do any of that flame proofing at the 
Cocoanut Grove. 

Q, Did you return at any time at the end of a year to make a test 
in order to determine whether or not the curtains were still 
fireproof? A. No. 

Q Do you know whether or not anybody did that? A. I presume that 
was done, because I have had several requests by the Cocoanut 
Grove to supply them with flameproof compounds. 

q 7/ould you know whether or not any person or persons did that? 

A I do not know. 

Q It is important from a fire prevention viewpoint to re-fireproof 
this substance? A. The Board of Fire Underwriters of the 
Fire prevention Bureaus requires treatment of the materials. 
They have all different rules throughout the Uhited States. 

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n You say tiiose curtains were installed two years ago. Do you 2^ 
know whether or not from that time to the present if these 
curtains and drapes had been sprayed with fireproof material? 

A No. 

Q When was the last time you had talked with anyone connected with 

the Cocoanut Grove? A. In reference to anything? 
q Yes. Any material in the windows and walls. A. About six 

months previous to this fire. 
(^ With whom did you talk? A. Barnet Welanski. 

q What was the purpose of the conversation? A. To replace the 

balloon ceiling over the dance floor. 
Q, What did you do as a result of that? A. I manufactured and 

installed a new ceiling over the dance floor, 
q 7/hat did it consist of? A. Blue satin hung in balloon effect 

as originally installed there, and replaced several times 

during a period of years that I have worked for the Cocoanut 

Grove • 
(^ VJhy was it installed? A. Due to the fact that the previous 

one had kind of faded. 
Q Did you do any installing in the Melody Lounge? A. No. No 

installing in the Melody Lounge except the original installationj. 
Q, Did you replace any imitation palm trees in the Melody Lounge? 
A No. 

^ Where did they come from? A. I don't know. 
(^ You don't handle palm trees? A. No. 

Q, What are the ingredients contained inthe spray of the palm trees^ 
A I purchased it. It was Sulphate of Ammonia. 
Q Any other ingredients? A. Just Sulphate of Ammonia. Two poundu 

to one gallon of water. 

Q V/here was the Sulphate of Ammonia purchased by you? 

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A From several people. i>j2i 

Q, Did you give these curtains and materials any Tireproofing 

after you purchased them? A. No. 
q^ Vflien you say Sulphate of Ammonia, that is the material that is 

mixed with water to spray after a year's time? A. Yes. 
q, Was this done? A. I don't know. I just spray them with small 

quantities of the compounds. 
^ lyhat quantities? A. Ten lbs or Fifteen lbs. 
Q Hov/ many times were such purchases made? A. I supply it free 

of charge. 
Q You instructed them as to how to spray it? A. I have had 

several calls from the Cocoanut Grove as to how the compound 

should be mixed. 
Q, Do you loiow whether or not this Sulphate of Amaonia was mixed 

and sprayed on the curtains? A. No. 
Q, Have you ever talked with any person and receive any information 

as to whether they used any Sulphate of iimmonia to spray mater ialjS? 
A No. 
q. Do you know whether any test, whether a lighted match or any 

other ignited material, was made to determine the resistance of 

the fabric to fire? A. l«Vlien I installed the ceiling over the 

dance floor, I myself tested the material for being flame proof. 
Q, How long ago? A. April or May of this year. This is the ceiling 

over the dance floor in the Melody Lounge. 
Q Just what did you install in the Melody Lounge with reference to 

this fireproof material? A. I installed the ceiling and the 

Q Anyv/here else? Ai I supplied labor to install some kind of 

rattan on the bar face. 



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q, Y/as that the same material that was on the ceiling? A. No. 22 
Q, Vl/hat did that consist of? A. Rattan or cane v;eave. 
^ V/hat was that material made of? A. Rattan. 
Qi Was that fireproof ed? A. Not that I Jmow of. 
Q Is that inflamaiable? A. Not more than v/ood. 
q, It did not resist fire? A. No. 

Q V/as that chemically treated? A. I have no knowledge. I only- 
applied it. 
Q Where was it purchased? A. I don't know. 
Q Can you fix the date to the best of your memory with reference 

as to when you installed the material on the ceiling? 
A About tv/o years ago. 
Q, Have you been in the Melody Lounge at any time to do any 

installation of any material since that time of two years ago? 
A None whatsoever. 

q. Have you gone in to look over and test the material? A. No. 
Q Was there anything in your agreement that you should return 

there and fireproof or test the material for its resistance? 
A I would only return if specifically requested to do so by 

somebody . 
^ You would supply this Sulphate of Ammonia in powder form to be 

mixed with water? A. Yes. 
Q Was that requested by the Cocoanut Grove? A. Yes. 
Q, Do you know who requested it? A. Mr. Bamet Welanski. 
Q You do not know whether or not any test had been made of the 

materials? A. Only when I installed them two years ago. 
(i You are certain that the expiration of one years time would put 

the fire resistance value of this material in doubt? A. Yes. 


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Q Is there anything in verbal or v/ritten agreement that you would 
take care of the fireproof ing after a year's period of time? 

4 No. 

Q You purchased this material from two firms. Do you know which 

concern furnished the materials that were placed in the Melody 
Lounge. Did they come from the liaharan Corporation, 130 
W. 46th Street, New York City, or the Dazien, Incorporated, 
142 W. 44th Street, New York City? A. I don't know. Both firms 
handle the same class of merchandize and I do business with bot 
concerns. That was for the last 15 or EG years. I could not 
tell the material apart. 

Q Do you know from your own knowledge whether or not the materials 
that were in the Melody Lounge at the time of the fire was the 
same material you installed two years ago? A. Yes. The ceilinjg 
in particular. That was a highly specialized job that cannot be 
done by anybody else in the City of Boston. 

Q You are positive that it was the material you installed there 
two years ago? A. Yes. 

Q, During that period of time, you do not knov; whether or not it 
was sprayed, but you did provide the Amonnia Sulphate? 

A Yes. 

^ Did you give any instructions with reference to the proposition 
of Sulphate to mix with water? A. Yes. I wrote it dovm on a 
slip of paper for whoever intended to do it for the Cocoanut 
Grove • 

Q When you did write the instructions, that was how to miz and 
apply? A. Yes. 

^ It was written by you? A. YeB. 

q How long ago was that done? A. The last tinie I supplied the 

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Cocoanut Grove. The early part of this year. 
^ litoat are the requirements? That is, how muoh Animonia Sulphate? 

Two Ihs to one gallon. One and one half lbs, to one gallon* 
Q How was this applied? A. By a sprayer* Any method of applying 

it evenly on the fabric. 
Q Have you given instructions on more than one occasion? 
A For the last five years, I have been called on the average of 

once or twice a year to give somebody the information. 
Q Was that orally or in writing? A. Sometimes orally, over the 

Q, Do you Icnow whether or not any person or persons were given 

the responsibility of spraying the curtains and ceiling 

material? A. No» 
Q Any odor from this material? A. That would depend upon the 

fabric consistency of the material. 
Q Would that cause a carbon monoxide condition? A. Well, to my 

knovaedge, any time there is a fire, you have that condition of 

carbon monoxide. 
Q Do you recall if there were air circulating fans in the Melody 

Lounge? A. In a far corner of the room there was. 
Q More than one fan in the Melody Lounge? A. Just one that I 


Q It was there to circulate the air? A. That is not my line. 
Q Is there anything on your mind that you feel is of importance? 
A I don't think there is anything I could say that would further 

Q Has this material that you installed ever been examined or tested 
by any persons connected with the Fire Department, Building Depatt 

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ment or any public officials in the State of Massachusetts? 
A It is customary for me to leave with the oivners of the different 

premises that I do business with, samples of the fabric used. 

Upon request by any proper authorities, I have at times supplied 

additional samples. 
Q Were any samples supplied to either the State of Massachusetts 

Fire Marshal's Office, the Fire Department or the Building 

Department? A. I left samples in the office of the Cocoanut 

Grove. Remnants of the material. 
Q, Did you leave any samples in any of the departments just 

enumerated? A. No. 
(^ Do you know whether any other concern supplied material other 

than what you supplied? A. To my knowledge, there are several 

other stores that supply decorative materials. 
Q, Anything that might be required to be fi reproofed? Anything 

inflammable, such as decorations, chairs, palm trees? 
A Somebody supplied the palm trees. 

Q Any material outside the Melody Lounge other than yours? 
A They had been supplied previous to my installation. Somebody 

else supplied it. The ceiling of the dance floor was done 

April or Llay of this year. 
Q Can you think of anything of importance that would help the 

Boston Police Department in this case? A. No. 

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